Hello, I know no one can really answer that for me, but I'm hoping to get some insight into what's involved, the problems and the output quality to get a better idea as to whether I want to get one or not.
I require rapid prototyping for the design work I do (i.e. not for fun, even though it looks very cool). I work on a variety of items like camera cases and laptop type assemblies and other less refined items. I've been using output bureaus and have found some that are fairly inexpensive (around $100 for the aforementioned camera case-7 small pieces) and do good quality. Given the number of projects I work on and the number of revisions we go through it would speed things up and ultimately save money to be able to do it in house.
My main concern is sort of twofold; would the printer produce the quality and intricacy of prints I require (since we can't really change the print to suit the printer), and if it could, would it take so much to get it working at that level that it would be more time consuming/distracting than it's worth. (btw I like mechanicals, so I'm happy to build it, but don't want to mess much with software, aside from installing, ick).
From the pictures I've seen it looks like it's capable of great quality, but then I'll see some pretty rough looking prints and wonder what is the norm. Have the good ones gone through a lot of post print finishing or did the operator tweak things to get those results?
I also read about some of the problems people have and don't really want to deal with that too much. I understand there is calibrating etc., but some seem to have problems that are pretty hard to track down. I've built my own kit car so understand the process, but there are quality kits and shoddy kits, and this is for business not a hobby. How 'build and play' are these units?
I've been considering some of the more professional units as well, but they are quite a step up in price and in some cases the quality doesn't look any better. Building one also give the advantage of modifying in the future (again, I'm happy with the mechanical stuff, not so much with the software, buggy stuff).
Thanks very much for the input!